November 2017

Ecosystem Maps

Map the system of actors and touchpoints around the user
Starting point

When dealing with complex ecosystem, building a synthetic representation of all the players involved helps clarifying roles and relationships. But how to make sure that the visualization doesn't increase the complexity instead of facilitating its understanding?

The humanitarian data ecosystem - Humanitatian Data Exchange project with UN OCHA
What we did

Ecosystem maps have the objective to summarize what actors and touchpints are involved in a product-service system, and how they relate to each other in one single view. Positioning the user at the center of the map allows to keep a strong user-centric perspective while looking at the entire system around them, and gives a clear visual reference to start reading the diagram. All the other elements can be placed around the center, closer or further away according to the degree of relationship they have with the user. After all the elements are located on the map, the connections can be drawn, using different strokes according to the importance of the relationship or the type of exchange involved.

Why it is valuable

The ecosystem map helps aligning a team or an organization around a similar way of thinking about the service players and dynamics. The map can be used to highlight existing gaps and elaborate strategies for intervention, by leveraging existing roles or creating new ones.


Once the visual framework has been created, it can be used to analyse the same ecosystem across different geographies, context or moments in time, and facilitate comparisons.

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